21 July 2021 By Remi Johnson
As Muslims continue to celebrate this year’s Sallah, the Federal Capital Territory Administration has stepped up surveillance at recreational parks within Abuja, to ensure compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
The Head, Media and Publicity of FCT Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 Enforcement,Comrade Ikharo Attah who monitored compliance at the Abuja Millennium Park, said the move was to guard against the spread of the 3rd wave.
He maintained that the FCT Administration would not lose its guard to please fun seekers at the expense of the larger population of the FCT.
His words:”…there was compliance, particularly at the main city Mosque, we saw few washing points and people using hand sanitisers, in the suburb it may not be the same. In terms of the recreational parks, we have to commend the operators… The Unity Fountain is locked, Millennium and Jabi parks are also locked . FCT Commissioner of Police has also helped by ordering Divisional Police Officers to ensure that no parks are opened in their areas… FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello has appealed to residents to help in the fight against COVID-19, especially the dreaded 3rd wave. The Minister is ready to open up completely, once we are able to overcome the virus”, Attah explained
However, findings has shown that locking up some recreational parks appeared to be counterproductive,as Millennium park turned out to be a bee hive of activities.
To this end, some fun seekers accused FCTA Administration of double standards and violation of World Health Organisation (WHO) directives, which allowed events with a large crowd to be conducted in an open air space.
According to the embittered residents, there was no justification for markets, Mosque, churches and other public places to open without serious restrictions, while recreational centres where events are mainly open air are locked up.
Also, a resident and Real Estate Developer, Mr Erin Inyang said the same government that is restricting those celebrating Sallah from accessing recreational parks, have allowed markets and even worship places to operate uninterrupted.